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Public News Service expands to North Carolina

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A national public-interest news service has expanded to North Carolina and expects initially to produce at least 10 stories a month.

North Carolina is the 30th state served by Public News Service, a for-profit company based in Boise, Idaho.

With 400 members that pay $2,000 to $5,000 a year, according to a sliding scale based on their annual revenue, Public News Service reports on issues selected by its members, which sometimes serve as sources for stories, says Becky O’Brien, executive director of Media in the Public Interest, a nonprofit partner of the news service on specific projects.

In addition to membership fees, the news service is supported by gifts and grants from individuals and foundations, which provide funding for coverage of topics in addition to those selected by members.

Lark Corbeil, founder of Media in the Public Interest and founder and CEO of Public News Service, says the news service serves as a “wholesaler” that offers its stories to local and national broadcast, online and print outlets.

Those outlets pick up the new service’s stories, reaching a weekly audience of 24 million people, she says.

“We see ourselves as providing public-interest news and perspective that balances the mainstream debate,” she says. “We’re looking to privilege voices that don’t get heard and that help foster understanding, not divisiveness.”

The new North Carolina News Service, which has 14 founding members, will be supported with part of a $24,000 grant from the Park Foundation to Media in the Public Interest.

Media in the Public Interest works to help nonprofits and journalists work more effectively with one another, and to incubate innovative media projects, Corbeil says.

The news service employs four staff members and a network of over 30 free-lance journalists.

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